Monday, January 30, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online: The cycle of life is a complex maze of twists and turns that cannot be rewarded with immortality as a climax. One person dies, another is born, one door closes, and another is opened. Such is the reality of politicians and political parties as well.

It would appear now that Paul Martin is about to take his leave from parliament hill. Love him or hate him, can you really blame him? Much easier to leave now before the barrage of hammering starts from the new government. He will politely close the door as party leader, and allow the new door to open with the new party leader.

It is time to put a new coat of paint on the Liberal party. Time to sand down the surface, and smooth out the rough edges. It is time to look outside the box. If the Liberal party has aspirations of once again gaining the respect of the majority of voters across Canada, the opportunity now exists to put the wheels in motion. They are leaving office with a respectable amount of seats as opposition in the house. It is not as if they have nothing to build upon. They are badly in need of new blood, and thus, a transfusion is paramount. If the Liberals do their homework, and listen to the people, that new door will open and a new leader will walk through who will be capable of leading the party back to the promise land.

The Liberals need someone who is educated, articulate, and above all else, squeaky clean. Ideally, this person would have a demonstrated political background, with the ability to converse with foreign powers without compromise. This person would also possess a thorough knowledge of Canadian industry encompassing both small and big business, consistent with the diverse economic climate across the nation.

If the hierarchy of the Liberal party in Canada is serious, and willing to cast away some of the deadwood that they have harbored for too many years, they can make the right choice for a new leader. When the new door opens, reflective of available material to choose from, the red carpet will be rolled out for none other than Frank McKenna.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:
Here it is, the day before the main event. We have heard the arguments, we have heard the rhetoric, and we have seen the hypocrisy and garbage pile up. This is the time for the final sifting of ingredients before the batter goes to the oven.

At the onset, it could be argued that no real change would take place. Predictions of minority government were rampant no matter which of the two major players would emerge the victor. The final two weeks of the campaign appeared to set the stage for a Tory minority win, and as the campaign wound down into the final days, whispers of a majority government for Mr. Harper were echoed.

Toronto, the financial capital of the country will be a big factor. Prominent candidates in and around Toronto have not set good examples. Belinda Stronach is viewed by many as a traitor and opportunist for walking the floor and touting her own agenda. She knew that her road would be rocky as a member of the Tory caucus, so to inflict pain, she chose to slip out into the darkness of the night, and join forces with the enemy. Decisions such as this by a candidate, will not sit well with the money and power brokers who form a large part of the Toronto electorate. I would be very surprised if this riding did not go back to the Tories in a very strong sense. As I have predicted previously, Mr. Layton's job as leader of the NDP will be coming to conclusion as well, and thus, chalk up this seat to the Tories.

Quebec will prove interesting. I think that the good folks from Quebec know which side their bread is buttered on. If they still want the handouts, they will throw more support behind the Tories or Liberals. Again, because of recent government scandals, look for them to lean more heavily to the Tories. Gilles Duceppe will hang on of course in his riding, however, he is going to lose ground. Territory, that he can ill afford to lose in keeping with the Bloc's agenda.

Prairie Canada will look more favourably to the Tories with Mr. Harper. Again, the Liberals have not done a lot for the respect of Prairie farmers and other business people there, so a fresh start is in order. Ralph Goodale, who as federal finance minister is facing turmoil regarding recent allegations. He will not fare well in his riding, and as well, the stench of the sponsorship scandal still permeates the air. Alberta would prosper no matter which party is in power, they can afford to thumb their nose at Ottawa, but in the final analysis, the Tory light will shine brighter.

The Maritimes, Newfoundland, and British Columbia all share an interest in similar resource industries. The Liberals have done a lousy job in resource management, so again, look for a stronger Tory representation in these provinces. The three northern territories need new hope. Development of industry, improved transportation, and a greater emphasis on social programs are paramount in these regions. Many will choose to give Mr. Harper and the Conservatives a chance as an alternate to the Liberal regime that failed them.

Lest we forget, the following is the score card following the 2004 federal election. It is followed by my predictions of the standings following the vote on Monday January 23, 2006.

Liberal 135
Conservatives 99
Bloc Quebecois 54
NDP 19
Independent 1

My predictions for 2006 vote:

Conservatives 157*
Liberals 91
Bloc Quebecois 48
NDP 12

* This is not a large majority, however, should it turn out to be reasonably accurate, I am certain Mr. Harper will accept it with open arms.

In keeping with Elections Canada regulations, this will be the last posting to this site until after the polls close across Canada. Please do your part for the democracy of our country, and get out and vote.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online After careful thought and consideration of all parties involved in the upcoming federal election, I, like many other Canadians have formulated certain opinions, and thus, have made predictions with respect to the outcome on January 23.

I am of the view that this election will spell the virtual demise of the NDP in the house of commons. It can be argued that this party is going into the federal election with no real platform, but with a very real agenda. The reality of the situation is, it is a hidden agenda. In other words, feast off the mistakes of the front runners without ever having to stalk the prey, similar to the way the hyena pack dines on the African plains. In this case however, the leader of the pack, Mr. Layton, may have some deep political wounds to lick.

I do not believe for a moment that Jack Layton can win personal re-election in a Toronto riding. Toronto ridings are afterall, representative of the financial capital of Canada. Unlike the Liberal and Conservative parties, the NDP has no track record. Across Canada provincially, any time that the NDP has held office they have never been able to hang on. They are not a party that gets elected on platforms, but rather as a result of protest votes, and as a result, a seesaw battle will prevail with the two old parties to scoop them up. True, the track records of the old parties has been less than desirable at times, however, their presence has always been felt, with the exception of the election that saw Kim Campbell and the Tories ousted from the Hill, and that particular vote was nothing more than the electorate thumbing their noses at Brian Mulroney and crew in a protest vote. Unfortunately for the electorate, it produced the Bloc Quebecois as the opposition.

Now the big question, if the NDP loses most of their seats across Canada, who will emerge the victor? That is the haunting question for both parties. I am of the opinion that the Conservatives will pick up most of the seats lost by the NDP.

As tomorrow will be my last posting prior to the election, I shall be publishing further predictions of some of the key ridings, and as well, my predictions regarding seat totals for all the parties.

Please note that there will be no further election postings on this web page after Sunday midnight EST, January 22, until all the polls have closed across Canada on January 23, 2006.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online
As time runs out, and the pressure intensifies, it is interesting to observe the changes in focus of an election campaign. The current federal campaign contains all the elements of last minute "sleight of hand" tactics by two leaders running scared.

Prime Minster Martin was quick out of the gate at the onset of the campaign. He appears to have shot himself in the foot with respect to his announcement of plans for a total ban of handguns in Canada. It was to be a campaign waged on the principles of law and order according to the Martin camp.

Mr. Harper, on the other hand, was smart enough to sit back and not say a lot about the matter. He let the people drive the message to the Liberals regarding the proposed handgun ban. He chose a course outlining his economic plans for the nation, thus forcing Mr. martin's hand. As a result, the law and order campaign of the liberals went straight to the back burner.

The Liberals were forced to take a stronger public stand regarding economic issues, something that one might suspect they were reluctant to do, considering the recent outcome of the Gomery inquiry which showcased a heaping pile of deceit, waste, and corruption. The electorate in Canada are not stupid. They are well enough informed to know that Mr. Martin himself was Minister Of Finance during those days, and later became the Prime Minster. The whole scenario does not sit well with the voters, who now on a daily basis must endure promises of integrity and good fiscal management from the same players.

Neither Mr. Martin nor Mr. Harper adequately outline a foreign policy with respect to Canada. There are serious trade issues with Washington to be addressed, especially with the softwood lumber industry, and as well, Washington's refusal to adhere to the rules of the free trade agreement.

The Liberals have told us in this campaign that they have managed debt and spending. They also tell us that they have actually reduced the national debt. Considering the staggering seven hundred billion national debt that we possess, the pittance that they claim to have paid down, would compare favourably to someone throwing one deck chair overboard from the Queen Mary to lighten the load in a gale.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online: In five short days Canadians are going to be asked to stand and be counted, as we go to the polls for the federal election.

It is sad and disgusting to know that in the past two federal elections, only 62 percent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot. The 38 percent who could not bother to vote represented approximately 8.4 million eligible voters. Let us put that figure into perspective. The total combined population of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba roughly parallels that figure. Crunch the numbers one step further. Granted, the total population of the western provinces are not eligible to vote, however, if one extracts the eligible voters from that figure, and adds the combined eligible voters from all the maritime provinces, Newfoundland, and the three northern territories, we arrive back at roughly the same figure of 62 percent to be made up from combined Quebec and Ontario voters.

Does this say something Canada? Perhaps we should rewrite the constitution and hold the federal elections only in Quebec and Ontario, giving them the power to control the rest of the country. But then again, have they not already been doing that for the past 50 years.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online We are bombarded daily with the moans and groans from the entertainment industry with their claims of lost profits. If we are to believe the industry, these losses are as a result of what they class as illegal downloading of product from the internet.

In my view, when I purchase an item, it becomes my property, pure and simple, to do with as I choose, and when I choose. I may elect to purchase a particular tune. Problem is, I am forced to purchase a dozen other duds, as there is no mechanism in place to purchase single tunes. In their wisdom, the recording industry is forcing the sale of unwanted material. As a result, people are rebelling, and thus downloading sites are becoming common place on the internet where patrons can download their desired choices, and at the same time, offer their own music library in return.

The recording industry must be prepared to shoulder some of the blame, as afterall, it was largely through their greed, that these sites started to appear.

If I choose for example to purchase a new Ford car, of course, Ford Motor Company will and should make a profit on my purchase. If I choose to sell the car the next day, or for that matter, give it away, Ford is no longer in the picture. It is mine to do with as I choose. I see no difference in the rules, whether it is an automobile or a CD. I did not rent it, I bought it. If the recording artist finds a problem with that, then take up the problem with the recording company, not with the consumer.

The film industry is up in arms as profits from the box offices are down. People are just not going to the theatres as much they say. They are right, people are not going. One reason is because so much of the product out there is just short of primitive crap. Greedy film executives are so anxious to cash in on the lucrative DVD business, that new films are being released to the market on DVD almost before release to the theatres. Only a stupid person would contemplate paying perhaps fifteen dollars to see a movie in the theatre, when they know it will be for sale in the stores in a few short weeks for maybe thirty dollars, and can be watched an unlimited amount for no extra charge. As a result, movie downloading from the internet is becoming a popular activity in the same way as music.

No matter how you slice the pie, there are only so many dollars to go around, so all you entertainment executives take heed. Your moans and groans are becoming more entertaining than some of the crap that you are putting out there for product, but then as someone once said, "there is a sucker born every day."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online Election campaigns do not bring out the best, they tend to bring out the worst of a handful of wannabe's who would lead us to believe they have all the answers. The agenda is usually derived from seizing upon something controversial, and building a campaign around it.

Prime Minster Paul Martin does a wonderful job of putting his mouth into motion before putting his brain into gear. This is evidenced by his recent country wide tirade on crime, and curbing it by banning the ownership of handguns in Canada. If only it was that easy.

Under the Liberal government, we have seen registration of long guns come into effect. It has done absolutely nothing to curb crime. There were certain firearms that the government allowed prior that were controversial, such as long magazine semi-automatics designed as military weapons. The public generally found no fault with the decision to remove them from the public. Statistics prove that the registering of rifles and shotguns has had no positive impact on crime reduction.

In the case of handguns, Canada already has some of the toughest legislation in the world controlling ownership of these guns. Each handgun has to be legally registered. Generally, those purchasing handguns were those who engage in recreational shooting, and those who collect legally. Crime statistics prove that gun crimes committed with legally registered guns is minimal.

Is Paul Martin so naive to think that gun crimes will simply go away by registering long guns and an outright ban on all handguns? Surely, he is smarter than that. The crook will still get his guns. Crooks will still smuggle their guns or buy them on the black market. After all is said and done, who will suffer the most from all this? The law-abiding firearms owner of course, not to mention all the millions of dollars paid out in taxes by the taxpayers of this country for another inept government bureaucracy.

We already have the tools in place in Canada to make a huge impact on crime. It is our criminal code, and it's provisions for the sentencing of violators. What we need is for the government to get after the judges to get off their butts and make the teeth bite. If someone is convicted of any crime involving a firearm, throw the individual in jail for a long time. We already have the law in place that states if a gun is used in a crime, additional time can be added on to a sentence. It is rarely done though because our judges act like a bunch of ballerinas, who appear to be more interested in the criminals well being, than the rights of the victim.

It is time Mr. Martin to use some common sense. In my view, if you are planning to ban guns at this stage, then you might want to consider banning automobiles, knives, and even rocks. In the case of murder, the victim is just as dead from those weapons as they would be from a gun. Someone who came before this writer once said, "When Guns Are Outlawed, Only The Outlaws Will have Guns."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online How many times in your life have you heard someone make reference to the fact that they don't bother voting? I hear it on a daily basis, not only from young people, but from those older and supposedly more mature. What a shameful example for parents to display to their families.

In two great wars, Canadians spilled their blood on the battlefields of Europe to preserve the freedoms and the voting franchise that we possess today. Surely, in respect of these gallant people, the very least we can do is make an effort to prove that they did not die in vain. It takes but a few moments to register and go to the polls.

In my view, if you choose not to vote, then you have absolutely no right to complain about our system. This afternoon, I overheard two gentlemen talking about the upcoming federal election. Both of these gentlemen were new citizens in the past five years. I was shocked to hear both of them admit that they don't bother with the voting process. I found that absolutely disgusting. These people have come to our land, become citizens, reaped the benefits that others have fought for, and are willing to do nothing for democracy. Unfortunately, the views expressed by these individuals is also shared by many citizens who were born here.

Our health care system is in a state of chaos, our employment insurance scheme has been eroded, and Canada Pension and the Old Age Security Pension are all in a state of disarray. People wo do not vote or bother to take part in the system generally complain the loudest. It will be too late to get involved the day these perks and services dry up. Again, if you choose to not take part, then you deserve what you get.

I have travelled to a few parts of this old world, and have done exhaustive research on many regimes. One thing that I am steadfast in, is knowing that we may not be perfect, and we may not have the perfect system in Canada, but on our worst day, we are still miles ahead of most other places in the world on their best day.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online The second week of the year 2006 is upon us. Canadians are treated to a daily diet of the travelling road show of performers leading up to the big circus on January 23. The focus of course is placed on the trapeze acts of Mr. Martin and Mr. Harper. The haunting question, which of these gentlemen will take the big plunge from the high wire? Afterall, it is not the fall that hurts the most, it is the sudden stop.

There are some things that will take place in 2006 that our prominent politicians choose not to talk about during the campaign. They choose to not talk because it is a source of embarassment, and both major parties are guilty of sitting on their butts, and doing nothing to curb the situation. You may wonder, what is it that I am referring to? For starters, 2006 is the year that Clifford Robert Olson becomes eligible for full parole from prison. Canadians from coast to coast should never forget this individual. Afterall, he pleaded guilty 25 years ago to brutally murdering eleven innocent children from British Columbia.

True, he will not succeed in his application for release. He knows that. He does however, get a high from being in the public eye. During the past 25 years, our politicians could have enacted legislation that would have precluded him from ever being able to apply for release. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to personally meet with several of the parents of his victims. There is no process whereby they can apply to have the death of their children reversed, but yet, our government allows this individual to clog the judicial system with his crap with his application for release.

In 1996, I covered Olson's application for early release after 15 years. He was applying under the so called "Faint Hope Clause." He was denied of course, however, he relished at hearing his name and whenever possible, would turn and make gestures to the parents in the court. This person makes reference to himself as "The Beast Of British Columbia" and 25 years later, he still holds our system ransom. We want more, we expect more, so again, tell your local politician.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:
As of today, Canadians are facing the final sixteen days of our election campaign. It has been said that an election campaign doesn't really begin until the final week, so of course the best is yet to come.

It is sad and downright criminal that we do not hear our leaders addressing the real problems and issues facing Canadians. We hear absolutely nothing about getting tough with our southern neighbor with respect to the softwood lumber industry. Our American neighbor has chosen to thumb their noses at us in the day to day application of the free trade agreement. Our health care system is facing devastation. These are things that make us uniquely Canadian, and yet, we stand idly by and allow a few so called big shots to erode the system.

Hey Canada, let this be your wake up call. Pay attention to what is going on before election day. Don't go into the polling booth and mark an "X" just because it is the way our family has always voted. Make your vote count, and if the party is not doing what you want as a Canadian, then, send them packing. Remember, the member of parliament works for you. In the real world, the words "Your Fired" would ring out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:
Let us pretend for a moment that you have suddenly emerged from the effects of a ten year nap. You are informed that one of the two old political parties is in power in Ottawa, however, you are not told which one. You are given two weeks to make a decision as to which party is in control. This decision must be based exclusively on your observations and findings. Would you be able to determine who holds the reins? Probably not. If this is true, does that not tell us something? In other words, is there really a decision to make on election day. We went into this campaign with a minority Liberal government with Mr. Martin trying to claw his way out of his political coffin. It would now appear that the best that can come out of all this will be another minority government. True, it may be Mr. Harper and the Conservatives this time, but again, will it really matter? It was an expensive poker hand that cost the Canadian taxpayer untold millions to ante up. There will be no clear winners of the hand. We will have only shuffled the deck.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online
Ever wonder just how much money six hundred billion dollars really is. Let us put it into perspective for a few moments. Let us pretend to remove all sixty thousand seats from a large arena facility such as BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. In the void created, we shall now proceed to store six hundred billion Canadian dollar coins. As we proceed to fill this void with coins, it becomes obvious that our storage facility will not be adequate to do the job. We will require an additional five arenas of the same capacity to house all the coins. Thats correct. . . it would require six BC Place Stadiums to store six hundred billion one dollar Canadian coins. By the way, this figure of six hundred billion dollars represents Canada's current national debt. Now the question that begs an answer, Have our politicians shown fiscal responsibility to allow such a debt to flourish? The term, born into debt, also takes on new meaning. Babies born in 2006 are already in debt to the tune of twenty two thousand dollars as their share of a debt they did not create.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Stoddard Online: Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:
No election campaign would be complete without the usual promise of a "free vote" in the house on some such issue, should one party or the other get elected to government. These are powerful three dollar words to an uninformed pool of voters. Immediately after an election, when the prime minister and government have been duly sworn in to serve our needs, the prime minister opens his goody bag. In the bag are the appointments for lucrative cabinet posts, crown corporation heads, committee heads, and a whole host of lesser, but still financially attractive, perks funded by the public purse. On any given issue, the prime minster has already stated his or her position, prior to the "free vote." History dictates, when the vote is taken, the motion always passes in favor of the prime minister's views. A nastier, more cynical person than this writer, might suggest corruption is a prerequisite for democracy in the house of commons.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online
There was a time when anything less than professional conduct from a politician would be reasonable grounds to expect the politician to leave office, and would never be considered suitable for return. With the complete erosion of the rules surrounding the character of candidates, it would appear that now all is forgiven, once the candidate admits his or her blemish. This rule would appear to apply as a result of self admittance, or as a result of being caught red handed. Afterall, Premier Gordon Campbell is not a convicted felon for his impaired driving escapade in far off Hawaii, he simply made a mistake. . . an error in judgment. Equally, Svend Robinson is not a convicted lowly jewel thief, he was under teriffic stress when he took an expensive ring and stashed it in his pocket, and hid it away in his car. Let us be fair. These people are attempting to give something back. At the very least if the system did not allow their return, the system should provide for their entries into "Ripleys Believe It Or Not."